Monday, November 21, 2011

Two Soup Night

Parker asked me to pack some soup for his lunch this week. I started Curried Yellow Split Pea Soup from Vegan on the Cheap in the slow-cooker while he was eating breakfast. My slow-cooker is old and I think it runs a tad cool so I put the soup on high instead of low. I'm glad I did because the split peas were barely done when we sat down for dinner. My slow-cooker hasn't had this much action since we inherited it. I think I'm finally seeing the value of slow-cooker meals. (The beautiful artwork in the background is thanks to Amara and Indigo, they made these colorful birthday cards for me.)
I was worried we wouldn't have enough leftovers with one type of soup so I also made Peanutty Pumpkin Stew from Vegan on the Cheap on the stove top. I changed things up a bit. (Gita gave me a knitting project - and she started it for me, thank you! - and the cool Frida card - in the background - for my birthday. We've been studying Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera* in our homeschooling this year so the kids thought the card was very cool.)

I used red onion because they have more antioxidants, used sweet potatoes instead of white and roasted them with the garlic and carrots. I also used almond butter instead of peanut butter, pinto beans instead of kidney, and jarred jalapeno peppers so they weren't mild. I pureed it all before adding the beans and peas. I add two cups of cooked quinoa right before serving, but aside from all that I pretty much followed the recipe. I garnished with chopped peanuts. I served vadas to dip in either soup. The Peanutty Pumpkin Stew was the hit! The split pea soup was good, but the pumpkin soup was the one Parker had two bowls of and requested for school the next day. I can see this stew becoming a winter regular. Delicious and super nutritious!
Dessert was Gold Bar Cookies also from Vegan on the Cheap. We don't usually have dessert, they just eat some fresh or frozen fruit after dinner if they are craving something more, but I made these bars this weekend for a delicious Indian meal with lovely friends and the kids requested I make them again. Both times I made the bars with mango fruit spread. For the second batch of bars, I played around with the sweetener using a combo of date sugar and blacktrap molasses instead of brown sugar and it was much better tasting and the base stuck to together better. I also added shredded coconut to the top as Robin suggests in her recipe, but I forgot to add the nuts and golden raisins. I used walnuts both times instead of peanuts and this time I just added the nuts and raisins about five or ten minutes before it was done baking. I liked it better this way, but both are good. I thought these tasted a bit like my memory of pop tarts, but Rob didn't get that from them. Everyone agreed they were yummy.
*Some things Dema thought you should know about Frida and Diego:
"Frida Kahlo was famous for painting self-portaits and her husband Diego was famous for painting murals. Once Diego was going to paint something at Frida's school when she was young (before they were married) and he fell of the scaffold, but wasn't hurt. All he cared about was his mural. He painted about bad things like Army soldiers killing workers. Frida put soap on the stairs in her school to make Diego slip and fall. Later they married (when Frida was older) and Diego was a lot bigger than Frida and a lot older and I don't think he ever found out that she put soap on the stairs. Frida had polio as a child and always had a problem with one of her legs. She painted some creepy pictures like the one with two Fridas and it looked like there was something connecting their hearts. I think the married Frida hod blood on her dress. They lived in the Blue House which Frida's parents used to live in. Diego's twin brother died of a disease when they were babies so Diego was sent away to the mountains. Frida had to be in bed a lot when she was sick and started to paint. Frida died at the age 47. Next time I will tell you about Harriet Tubman." He talks faster than I can type so I think I might have missed a couple things, but if you are seven (or four) and want to learn more about Frida and Diego, we suggest you start with Frida Kahlo: The Artist Who Painted Herself and Diego. We've had these books in our home library for years and they kids have always enjoyed them.

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